Let me just leave you with this quote…it’s a busy day

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was on the craptastic Sunday pundit shows, and broke through the pretentious backpatting to say something interesting.

Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism. That’s why we don’t have — that [sic] why we have shows like Ghostbusters and don’t have shows like Racistbuster. You know, it’s something that’s still part of our culture and people hold on to some of these ideas and practices just out of habit and saying that well that’s the way it always was. But things have to change.

Posting will be light today. This is the start of finals week, and lucky me, I get them all out of the way today, on the very first day — so shortly I head off to torment my poor students with tricksy questions, and then I’m going to sit down and do all the grading. With any luck, I’ll put down this semester by this evening, and then maybe go celebrate by watching the new Spider-man movie. Even though it probably sucks.


  1. gussnarp says

    So maybe the reason atheists and skeptics ought to concern ourselves with social issues is that these are real things that affect our world and other people’s well being in very serious ways that spiritual nonsense is distracting people from, that the natural extension to debunking things like ghosts is to bring up the social issues that media focus on ghosts is distracting from, that the whole point of getting people to stop believe in nonsense is so that those people who are wasting their time and money on John Edward can put their resources, whether time or money or just plain attention into something meaningful and beneficial to society instead….

    That’s where the quote took my mind, anyway.

  2. zenlike says

    Go watch it with extreme low expectations. Then you will at least be entertained by it. I know I was.

    Also, don’t bother with the story.

    Happy grading!

  3. says

    Well, this is a problem. I did a little bit of research, more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism.

    I’m not surprised. Ghosts and angels and a post racist society, oh my!

    We’re in deep shit here, and it’s getting deeper every day.

  4. throwaway says

    While what he says here is at least agreeable, what he said about the whole Sterling thing and the finger-wagging was incredibly apt (save for the idea that Ms. Stiviano should go to jail… which I assume was a garbled mess of a point in order to appear “fair and balanced”.) The article was at its heart a middle-finger to the media, and the public, for only reporting on or consuming the sensationalism involved in scandals that expose the racist underbelly, rather than investigation or outrage about the underbelly itself. A lot of people knew what kind of person Sterling was even before this tape came out. But it seems as though there is only ever outcry when it is not considered “business as usual” — such as when slumlords evict low-income/no-income tenants in order to gentrify their property. And news outlets and the general public can not be bothered to invest in enough outrage over those systemic inequalities in order to effect a change.

  5. blf says

    My first reading is he is trying to make a valid-seeming point, albeit perhaps clumsily. Bigotry (notably including racism albeit also notably not limited to racism) is widespread yet there is no obvious (or at least one that I can think of) show now (or in the past ?) on (mainstream?) USAlienstan television which directly tackles the absurdity of bigots and bigotry on a continuing basis.

  6. gussnarp says

    I watched the third pre-reboot Spiderman and it was so awful that I decided Spiderman wouldn’t consume any more of my time and money at the theater, ever. Given what I’m hearing about reboot #2, I’ve made the right choice. I also recently watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine and was ready to swear off any mainstream comic based movie, but the Avengers and their associated movies have not utterly disappointed me yet, so I’m still willing to be entertained by them. X-Men Days of Future Past probably won’t lure me in though, not after Wolverine. That was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of bad movies.

  7. Gregory Greenwood says

    I can see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar point – our culture has a tendency to largely ignore all but the most extreme expressions of racism, and then the various pundits and talking heads smugly declare that we live in a post-racist society on the basis that lynchings are less common and now generally frowned upon rather than treated as public entertainment. The same pattern can be observed with other bigotries as well, such as the rise of the modern wave of socially acceptable misogyny that continues apace even as large numbers of people regularly claim that the struggle for gender equality is already settled and as such modern feminism is unnecessary, or the casual homophobia that is dismissed as not being bigoted really becuase there is comparatively little physical violence against gay people involved compared to the height of the ‘gay bashing’ era.

    With any luck, I’ll put down this semester by this evening, and then maybe go celebrate by watching the new Spider-man movie. Even though it probably sucks.

    Just so long as you don’t go in to the cinema with any negative preconceptions… ;-)

  8. bcmystery says

    Captain America 2 is a much better choice. It’s actually thoughtful and stuff.

  9. MJP says

    I hope that by “shows like Ghostbusters” he meant something else, like “Ghost Hunters.” Ghostbusters is a movie, not a show, and it’s a comedy about ghosts that people can enjoy even if they don’t actually believe in ghosts. Ghost Hunters is a comedy too, but an unintentional one.

  10. nrdo says

    @ throwaway
    That editorial in Time is very good; much better than most of the crap Time’s full-time pundits put out. He may just be misinformed about the technical legality of the recording; none of us know the details of how it was acquired. I wholeheartedly agree with his point though; values require continuous and careful defense, not just just big blow-ups when the celebrity media gets involved.

  11. drken says

    Bomani Jones has been writing about Sterling’s racism for a while. Here’s a great conversation with Dan LeBatard about his 2006 column where he called out the NBA for not dealing with one of their owners receiving the largest housing discrimination fine in history. Best line:

    “People say I saw this coming. No I didn’t, I saw it happen!”

  12. drken says

    Oops, forgot the link: http://youtu.be/g6bLKe9-Mto

    Basically, people are more upset with people saying racist things than doing racist things. Of course, then they’d have to admit they have white privilege because they can rent an apartment wherever they can afford one.

  13. says

    I have very few movie choices in Morris. One theater, one screen. It’s Spider-man or nothing.

    The question is whether nothing would be a better choice.

  14. yazikus says

    The question is whether nothing would be a better choice

    Or… you could hang out at home and watch Electrick Children on Netflix instant. It is an indie film about a 15 yr. old FLDS girl who listens to a rock cassette, also happens to get pregnant, and thinks god impregnated her through the tape. She heads off to Las Vegas to find the baby-daddy (guy singing on the tape). I just watched it this weekend and liked it so much. It is the directorial debut of Rebecca Thomas (who was a practicing mormon until a few years ago).

  15. says


    The question is whether nothing would be a better choice.

    I don’t think it’s a question at all. Of course, I don’t have things like grading driving me to bad entertainment. Netflix for me tonight, The Host and Grabbers (tentacles and drunk people, what’s not to like?)

  16. blf says

    The question is whether nothing would be a better choice.

    Running around outside at night with a butterfly net catching photons to mail to the fruitcake in the other threads is not an option?

    Hint: Best if you do it naked. This ensures plenty of lightsphotons will shine on you, so you can catch the ripest and most brilliant.

  17. madscientist says

    Kareem’s always been an interesting guy, but thanks to our sports culture I’ve always wondered if he really deserved his engineering diploma. I always remember him as standing out from most basketball players because he was more thoughtful in interviews.

  18. RobertL says

    Madscientist @19

    But he doesn’t work hard enough on defence. And my Dad says that he only really tries in the playoffs.

  19. microraptor says

    Gwen Stacy is the romantic interest in this movie.

    I assume that most people who are familiar with Spider-Man will realize what that means for how the movie is going to play out. If you aren’t, and you want the spoiler, just head over to tvtropes.com and search for Gwen Stacy.

    Also, there are three supervillains in this movie, and two of them could have been completely removed from the movie without having the slightest bit of change done to the plot.

    All in all, I think the only reason PZ should go and see this movie is to read the epic rant that will follow here on Pharyngula afterwords. I can tell you right now that it’s worse than some of the other movies that have received epic rants here.

  20. JohnnieCanuck says

    blf @6 All In the Family comes to mind. 1971-79. Full series available on DVD.

  21. chigau (違う) says

    RobertL #20
    I actually laughed out loud. (scared the cat)
    Have an internet.

  22. randay says

    Go to Youtube and watch movies from the thirties. I particularly recommend “RAIN” with Joan Crawford from about 1931. It’s an interesting story about a prostitute opposing an evangelist preacher. Suspense and surprise ending. A pre-code picture.